Employee says he ‘felt betrayed’ by Thunder Valley Casino after it announced temporary closure

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LINCOLN, Calif. (KTXL) – A Thunder Valley Casino Resort employee said management told staff they could use their own time off, such as vacation hours, while the casino is closed.

Many workers at Thunder Valley Casino are feeling underappreciated, according to an employee identified as “Shane,” who chose to speak to FOX40 on the condition of anonymity.

“I felt betrayed. I’ve been there for a long time. We’ve seen other casinos step up,” said Shane.

Shane said the anger comes from other casinos being willing to continue to provide pay and health care benefits to their workers while they are closed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. He said Thunder Valley was not doing that.

“It makes me angry. It makes me want to fight back,” said Shane.

Shane said he was speaking for those who would like to but are afraid of retaliation from management.

In an email sent on Tuesday to Thunder Valley’s 2,500 employees, management initially said it would “allow Team Members to utilize their (paid time off) balances to continue being paid, or at a Team Member’s discretion, opt to take unpaid leave.”

That means workers would use their own time, such as vacation time, while the casino is closed.

Shane said that is not all.

“They would front us another 80 additional hours but those hours would have to be repaid when we return to work,” said Shane.

Shane said many employees have been there for several years.

“We’ve been loyal to them for, most of us, 17 years. We’ve had offers from other casinos,” he said. “Some have left, some went to Hard Rock. The people that stayed behind did so out of loyalty and this is how we’re getting treated in return.”

FOX40 reached out to casino spokesman Doug Elmets for comment on the situation. He characterized it as fluid and that they are working in the best interest of their team members.

Management later changed what they told employees on Tuesday in regards to their pay:

Like other casinos in the region, Thunder Valley will continue to pay team members through the end of the month and reassess at that time.

The team members will have the umbrella of benefits they have chosen, including medical, dental vision until the end of April, at which time we will reassess.

Thunder Valley Casino Resort

“I still feel skeptical because a fluid situation is not them saying we will pay indefinitely for as long as it takes. That’s not what they’re saying,” said Shane.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain, for example, says it will continue to pay and provide full health benefits to all team members during this temporary closure period.

Shane said that’s all that he and his coworkers are asking for.

“I don’t think we’re asking for anything unreasonable,” said Shane.


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